Hamilton’s Josh McGuire won two golds in helping Canada to a record 10 medal showing at the 2006 Pan-Am Zone Fencing Championships in Valencia, Venezuela.
McGuire, now living in Montreal where he trains, took the men’s foil event and then led Canada to gold in the men’s team foil event with a stunning come-from-behind upset by scoring four hits in the final 30 seconds in the last relay. The win came against the United States, which topped the meet with 14 medals.
Other members of the winning team were Marek Wojcik, Nicolas Teisseire and Julien-Gaudreau Pollender.
Canada’s best previous effort at a Pan-Am Championship or Games was five in 1987, ’91, and ’99. This time Canada took four gold, two silver and four bronze medals. It also marked the first time that Canada won more than one gold medal at the same Pan-Am Championships or Games.
Canada’s gold medals came from Igor Tikhomirov in men’s epee and the women’s epee team of Sherraine Schalm-Mackay, Julie Leprohon, Ainsley Switzer and Catherine Dunnette.
This event was a qualifying event for the 2007 Pan-Am Games. Canada qualified a full contingent of 16 athletes for Rio, where it looks to improve on the 10 medals it won in Valencia.
In addition to the Pan-Am Championships, during the past six weeks Canadian fencers have won eight gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships, and a first-ever men’s medal at the World Championships. Furthermore Sherraine Schalm-Mackay captured the Women’s Epee Overall World Cup Title (a first for an non-European) and Canadian fencers won a record 11 medals in World Cup competitions in 2006.
The next Pan-Am Championships will be held in Canada in November 2007 and will be an important qualifying event for the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Canadian medal winners at the championships were:
GOLD: Men’s Epee: Igor Tikhomirov (Toronto).
Men’s Foil: Josh McGuire (Montréal).
Men’s Team Foil: Josh McGuire (Montréal), Nicolas Teisseire (Boucherville, QC), Marek Wojcik (Longueuil, QC), Julien Gaudreau-Pollender (Granby, QC).
Women’s Team Epee: Sherraine Schalm-Mackay (Brooks, AB), Julie Leprohon (Laval, QC), Catherine Dunnette (Calgary), Ainsley Switzer (Toronto).
SILVER: Men’s Team Sabre: Michel Boulos (Candiac, QC), Pierre-Philippe Gouin (Outremont, QC), Philippe Beaudry (Montreal), Nicholas Mayer (Mont Royal, QC).
Women’s Team Sabre: Sandra Sassine (Laval), Wendy Saschenbrecker (Montreal), Julie Cloutier (Repentigny, QC), Donna Saworski (Port Hope, ON).
BRONZE: Men’s Foil: Nicolas Teisseire.
Women’s Epee: Sherraine Schalm-Mackay.
Women’s Epee: Julie Leprohon.
Women’s Team Foil: Monica Kwan (Victoria, BC), Élise Daoust (Montréal), Louise-Helene Bouchard (Mont St-Hilaire, QC), Nora O’Malley (Calgary).